Issue 88 - 2012/8

Issue 88 - 2012/8

Contents

  • TNR - Tomorrow’s Problem Solved Today   2 - 5
  • Proposed Foie Gras Project Meets Opposition in Mainland China   6 - 7
  • Laboratory Animals in China and Hong Kong   8 - 9
  • Benefits of Dog-ownership in Hong Kong Revealed   11
  • Paws Off The Table Please!   12
  • In a Jam…   13
  • Laboratory Animals in China and Hong Kong   14 - 15
  • Dog Poisoning - In the Vicinity of Bowen Road, Black’s Link and Holland Street   16
  • The true cost of the cute puppy in the window   17
  • Vet’s Case Book   18 - 19
  • Vet Profile    19
  • Vet’s tips - Caring For Your Bunny!   19
  • Vet facts - The fat facts: Obesity in pets    20
  • SPCA Case files    22 - 23
  • Serving the Community    24
  • Happenings    26 - 27
  • Happy Endings   28


(text only version)

  • Feature                      Beauty at What Cost                                                2 - 4 

    Beauty at What Cost
    Next time, think before you pick up a new shampoo.

    This morning, as you were getting ready for work after a refreshing wake-me-up run, you reached for your deodorant and oops – it’s empty. One look at the clock and you realised you have about five minutes to quickly run to the pharmacy. There were literally dozens of brands at the store; you compared the price tags, the effectiveness of the products, the fragrance and perhaps even the packaging. Well, getting the brand you’ve been using for years was probably the easiest since you were already running late.

    Pause right there. Rewind to right before you dropped that deodorant into you basket, because you have forgotten something really important.

     

    Animals Suffering on Our Behalf
    Our everyday toiletries and beauty products are available on supermarket and pharmacy shelves because they’ve been tested and proven safe to use. Most of us know about the tests, but the majority of consumers are oblivious to the fact that a lot of these products are tested on animals such as rats, guinea pigs and rabbits. Experiments being performed on these animals are gruesome and barbaric to say the very least. In one way or another, they are poisoned with chemicals of various dosages and made to suffer for a prolonged period of time. If these procedures do not directly result in the animals’ painful deaths, having rendered useless by these tests, they will eventually be killed by asphyxiation, neck-breaking or decapitation.

    A list of commonly performed animal tests:

    • Repeated dose toxicity assesses whether long-term repeated use of a substance is poisonous. Rabbits or rats are forced to eat or inhale a cosmetics ingredient or have it rubbed onto their shaved skin every day for 28 or 90 days, and are then killed.
    • Reproductive toxicity assesses whether use of a substance may have an effect on fertility, sexual behaviour, birth and growth of the young. Pregnant female rabbits or rats are force-fed a cosmetics ingredient and then killed along with their unborn babies. Such tests take a long time and use thousands of animals.
    • Toxicokinetics looks at how a substance is absorbed, distributed, metabolised and excreted by the body. Rabbits or rats are forced to consume a cosmetics ingredient before being killed and their organs examined to see how the ingredient was distributed in their bodies. 
    • Skin sensitisation assesses whether a substance will make the skin increasingly inflamed and itchy each time it is used. A cosmetics ingredient is rubbed onto the shaved skin of guinea pigs and ears of mice to see if they have an allergic reaction. They are then killed.
    • Carcinogenicity looks at whether a substance causes cancer or increases the likelihood that someone will develop cancer. To assess this, rats are force-fed a cosmetics ingredient for two years to see if they get cancer and are then killed.

     

    *Information provided by Cruelty Free International.

     

    A Global Picture

    Currently, over 80% of the world, including China, USA, India and Russia, has not had any law in place to ban cruel experiments for cosmetics. Laboratories in these countries are given a freehand to poison animals for toxicity tests. In China, any new ingredient that has not been made available to the local market before has to undergo safety tests, some of which are required to be performed on animals.

    On the other hand, following the active campaigning of Humane Society International as well as Cruelty Free International, the European Union has already banned animal testing for cosmetics altogether under the Cosmetics Directive. In March 2013, the same directive is going to ban the sales of imported animal tested cosmetics entirely in the region.

     

    The Way Forward

    Cosmetic brands’ claim to subjecting animals to cruelty for the sake of demonstrating product safety never holds water. For one thing, there are thousands of ingredients that have already been proven safe and can be used in the production of cosmetics without the need for further safety tests. And more importantly, there are more than 40 non-animal test methods that have been scientifically validated for their accuracy, some of which have been proven better than animal tests – after all, testing products on the bodies of a different animal species has its limitations. Some tests are even performed on donated, healthy human tissues, which can only be more effective than say, rat’s skin.

    While the alternatives have already been made available, regulators’ reluctance to approve or accept these non-animal tests largely contributes to the continual existence of animal cruelty in cosmetics. With the proven success in Europe, hopefully it’s all going to change. In fact, earlier this year, China’s State Food and Drug Administration has released a draft proposal approving the use of non-animal testing methods for cosmetics. Till now, brands that are originally committed to non-animal testing have to cave for the sake of entering the massive Chinese market; with the law reform, brands will no longer be mandated by law to perform tests on animals, and for China’s cosmetics industry, the practice will instantly open doors to Europe.

     

    Follow the Bunny

    And shop cruelty-free! But sometimes what is described on product labels aren’t necessarily true – phrases like “not tested on animals” or “against animal testing” are often confusing and provides no guarantee whatsoever that the products are actually cruelty free. 

    If you’re committed to purchasing products that are truly free from animal testing, the Leaping Bunny provides a list of products that are certified “cruelty free” by Cruelty Free International and a coalition of animal protection groups under the internationally-recognised Humane Cosmetics Standard. Any product bearing the Leaping Bunny certification is something you can use with a clear conscience – no animal testing is conducted or commissioned for finished products or ingredients in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories or its suppliers after a fixed cut-off date.

    As of 2012, there are already hundreds of cosmetic brands from all over the world that have been certified by the Leaping Bunny. By choosing their products, you’re sending a very strong message to companies  – we do not want cruel cosmetics. Remember: beauty doesn’t have to come at a cost.

    Download the Leaping Bunny Shopping Guide at www.leapingbunny.org/images/globalguide.pdf

     

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  • Feature                      Ripe Old Age                                                            5 - 7

    Ripe Old Age

    Behaviour problems in geriatric pets can be indications of severe health issues.

    Like us, our pets are living much longer as a result of the many advances in veterinary medicine. Owners are also much more willing to spend money, not just for routine vaccinations and heartworm prevention but on cancer treatment or stem cell therapy as well as complex surgeries from veterinary specialists, in order to increase the lifespan of their pets. However, many owners do not report behaviour problems in their older pets because they think that they are a normal part of ageing and therefore nothing can be done. 

     

    Any changes in an older animal’s behavior should be investigated to eliminate underlying medical conditions.

    The rate of ageing varies with breed, but dogs and cats can be considered middle aged at 50 per cent of their expected lifespan and geriatric at 75 per cent of their expected lifespan. The risk of debilitating degenerative diseases of course increases during this time and changes in behaviour may be the first or only sign of many medical conditions. Kidney or liver disease can cause house soiling; pain from arthritis can cause an increase in aggression or irritability or the animal may play less or appear fearful or anxious when being handled. Certain metabolic diseases can make a dog hungrier and this may result in aggressiveness around food. Impairment of vision or hearing may cause the animal to withdraw, become fearful if it cannot find its way around the house or it may lead to conflict with younger animals within the household. When the effects of debilitating degenerative diseases that accompany old age impact on an animal’s ability to be as active as it once was, it often results in family members spending less time interacting with their pet. This, together with a loss of mental stimulation, can lead to the animal becoming depressed.

    Impairment of vision or hearing may cause the animal to withdraw.

    Any changes in an older animal’s behaviour should be investigated to eliminate underlying medical conditions and not dismissed as an inevitable part of ageing. Treatment may include better pain management, treatment of underlying disease and the provision of appropriate stimulating activities.

    As well as medical conditions, changes in behaviour can also stem from cognitive dysfunction syndrome or dementia, which is caused by a large number of factors that lead to increasing cellular damage to the brain and neurological impairment. 

    Any symptoms of cognitive impairment should not simply be accepted as the natural signs of ageing and affected animals should be treated as early as possible because at the early stages many signs of impairment are treatable or can at least be slowed down. Although dementia affects both dogs and cats, it often goes unnoticed in cats especially if they are outdoor cats. The owner may only report that the cat is sleeping more or there may be an increase in vocalisation, anxiety or dependency. The prognosis is therefore less positive for cats because the condition is often more advanced before it is diagnosed.

     

    Treatment

    The first objective of any treatment is to delay the progress of the disease and there is considerable evidence that dietary supplements, particularly a variety of anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids and vitamins, combined with a low protein, high carbohydrate diet can improve metabolic function and cellular repair in the brain. There are a number of products on the market in the form of prescription diets as well as supplements such as Aktivait.

    Drug therapy can also be very useful in dementia. Some may be used to improve circulation in the brain and others, including anti-anxiety medication, can reduce fear and anxiety or encourage exploratory behaviour where there is behavioural inhibition or can assist in the retraining of learned behaviours. Short-term drug treatment may also be useful in dealing with problems of sleep disturbance which the family may be finding difficulty coping with. 

    However, it is not advisable to use herbal remedies such as St John’s Wort, particularly in cats, as many of them depress the central nervous system or may interfere with conventional drugs and produce adverse side effects. As with dietary supplements, drug therapy should only be undertaken on the advice of your veterinary surgeon.  

    Behavioural therapy also plays an important role in rehabilitating geriatric animals and part of this is to make the environment much more user friendly, particularly for the less mobile animal. Ensure easy access to food and water bowls to reduce competition with younger animals in the household, install ramps or ensure that the sides of beds or litter trays are low enough for the animal to get into easily. Think about providing tactile cues for visually impaired animals, such as carpets or mats in the centre of floor spaces or corridors so they can navigate without bumping into things, or using different scents for different rooms. Installing a night light next to the dog’s bed or using heavy curtains to block out the early morning light for those animals with disturbed sleep can also be effective.

    However, there is little benefit in relying on diet and drugs alone to improve cognitive function if nothing is done to stimulate the animal. Consider simple changes such as activity feeding, taking dogs to interesting new places, low impact exercise such as swimming as well as increasing interactive play and social contact.  

    When an animal keeps the owner awake all night, barks incessantly or soils in the house, it is more likely that an owner will decide to put the animal to sleep, often before it is necessary. We all want to continue to enjoy the companionship of our furry family members for as long as possible. Recognising and treating the behavioural signs associated with ageing in the early stages allows us to do this as well as improving the quality of life for our pets in their later years.

     

    Signs of Cognitive Dysfunction

    1.  Confusion

    2.  Disorientation

    3.  Altered social relationship with people and other pets

    4.  Increased activity including aimless wandering, pacing and restlessness

    5.  Decreased activity, apathy and a lack of response to stimuli

    6.  Anxiety including separation anxiety

    7.  Altered sleep-wake cycle

    8.  Problems with learning and memory

    9.  House soiling

    10. Increased or decreased appetite

    11. Increased aggression or irritability

    12. Increased vocalisation

    13. Newly exhibited fear or phobias

    14. Decreased exploratory behaviour

    15. Compulsive behaviour

     

    Dr Cynthia Smillie

    Dr. Cynthia Smillie runs the Animal Behaviour Veterinary Practice in Hong Kong.

    More information online at www.petbehaviourhk.com

     

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  • Feature                     AT LAST… Pet Trade Reform in Sight!                          8 - 9

    AT LAST…PET TRADE REFORM IN SIGHT!

    For many years SPCA has been calling for increased oversight and regulation of the pet trade and the new proposals announced by AFCD on 3 October are a very welcome step forward.

     

    The Truth about Puppy Mills

    Our own investigation and raid of suspected unlicensed breeders in Lau Fau Shan and Ma On Shan in 2010 revealed shocking conditions of breeding dogs kept as puppy machines. Dogs were kept in small, dirty cages, stacked three high, defecating and urinating on dogs below. Cage burns were found on most of the dogs’ hind quarters and feet while many exhibited signs of severe stereotypical repetitive behaviour. The dogs were left in filthy cages without even the basics of fresh water. Uncared for, many suffered from extreme skin conditions that had seen them go bald.

    The traders concerned were prosecuted, but their fines were a paltry $5,000 and $7,000. Their animals were confiscated and the lucky ones were healed and rehomed by the SPCA, but under the current laws they were free to get new dogs and start afresh.

     

    What Are the Proposed Changes?

    Currently, a person may sell his own pet (and his pet’s offspring) without an Animal Trader License. This has allowed commercial pet breeders to pose as Private Pet Owners to escape licensing. These “hobby breeders”, together with the ilegal breeders and traders such as the ones involved in the two 2010 cases, were able to thrive because the laws were simply insufficient. The new proposals aim to counter these. They include:

    • All persons who want to breed dogs for sale must obtain a license.
    • Increased maximum penalties for breaches of licensing conditions from $1,000 fine to $50,000.
    • Increased maximum penalties for illegal trading of animals, a $2,000 fine to $100,000.
    • Empowering AFCD to revoke an Animal Trader License if the licensee has been convicted of cruelty.

     

    These proposals are a wonderful start. SPCA is studying them and will be offering additional suggestions if needed to improve the proposed amendments. Eventually, we would like to see the pet industry become more transparent to ensure better animal welfare. The ideal situation is where buyers visit actual breeding facilities and are able to help police the industry and give feedback where needed.

    It is vital that we all support the proposals. The Government is now inviting the public to comment before 30 November 2012.

     

    To view the proposals, please visit: 

    AFCD’s website (www.pets.gov.hk/en_business_3_1_5.php)

    Consultation document (www.pets.gov.hk/pdf/139B_consult_eng.pdf)

    Feedback form (www.pets.gov.hk/pdf/139B_questionnaire_eng.pdf)

     

    The forms can be returned by

    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Fax: 3110 1336

     

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  • Education                  Introducing Children to Animals                                  10 - 12

    Introducing Children to Animals
    SPCA’s different approaches to informing young minds about animal welfare.

    An assembled group of children gazed into an enormous cage. “This is where monkeys are trapped, and then individually caught and desexed in an effort to control Kam Shan’s overpopulation,” explained Tony Ho, Chief Officer Inspectorate, to the participants of the joint SPCA and YMCA Animal Welfare Camp. These 11- to 14-year-olds were attending the four-day camp to learn about animal issues, including some difficult and controversial topics.

    “Our objective is to educate them to become responsible youngsters by enabling them to learn about and understand animal welfare as welll as providing them with hands-on experience with animals. We let them shadow the Inspectors at work and take them to Kadoorie Farm, to see how wild animals are looked after there, and to wet markets and pet shops where they can also help us with our undercover inspection work,” Ho continued.

    For more than 90 years, the SPCA has been at the forefront of protecting and a natural extension of its work that education became part of the daily routine once the Society started to receive invitations to talk to schools, youth groups, community centres and even companies. Initially, much of this work was handled on an ad hoc basis by its Inspectorate or office staff.

    By the late 1990s, demand reached a level where the SPCA felt it necessary to have dedicated persons for the job. In the early 2000s, an education department was formed to provide talks to school children and to explore new ways of delivering its core messages. In response to the changing lifestyles and demands of Hong Kong’s young generation, the Society introduced new methods of engaging young people, formally as well as experientially, with the aim of heightening a sense of awareness for animals.

     

    Changing young minds through education

    Currently, our Education Team conducts over 300 talks each year, reaching out to over 20,000 students. The talks follow a time-trusted format: a 40-minute lecture which explains the work of SPCA, basic tenets of animal welfare, responsible pet ownership and how to approach pets. Each talk is tailored for kindergarten, primary or secondary school students, and is followed by a visit to our adoption centres.

    We make the talks as interesting and entertaining for children as we can. At the same time, we explore new formats to increase variety for our audiences. Some schools come back year after year, and we make sure they get to listen to different talks. For example, we recently added a specialty talk based on a children’s book, The Kwik Adventures of Baxter Brave and Tommy the Salami, which highlights both animal welfare and environmental issues for primary school kids.

    Creating resources for community leaders

    Important as it is to speak directly to school children, the pool is simply too big for the Education team to make significant coverage. The Society’s strategy is to create off-the-shelf resources that teachers or youth group leaders can use, or children can easily access.

    In 2008, the Education team created and launched the Humane Education Package, a self-contained collection of classroom materials for teachers. Divided into primary and secondary school sections, each contains 10 chapters of teaching aids and activity sheets, sufficient for a term’s work. The package has been adopted by over 100 teachers in Hong Kong. Animal welfare organisations in Taiwan, Thailand, Korea and even the United Kingdom are translating the content into their own cultural context and language for local use.

    The Education team is now planning the development of a new version of the Humane Education Package in the next three to five years that will incorporate updated materials from animal welfare research and changing public perspectives towards animal welfare.

    The other “train the trainer” strategy has been to approach leading youth organisations to incorporate animal welfare into their teaching frameworks. The Hong Kong Scout Association with 100,000 members is the obvious choice for this. In 2009, the Society successfully convinced the Scout Association to introduce animal care and welfare tenets into the Scout training scheme by having animal welfare projects as requirements and electives in the Scouting badge system. At the same time, the Society offers training and support to the Scout Association through courses for leaders.

    The SPCA website is another obvious resource where students and the general public can look for information. The site contains a wealth of information on animal welfare issues and campaigns; it avoids the use of technicalities and jargon, and provides links for further probing. Animal welfare games for young people to play enable them to learn more about animal care, responsible pet ownership and our roles as caretakers

     

    Creating empathy through deeper experiences

    “I had a great time at the SPCA. I was assigned to the PR department. Before working there, I’d always thought that most pet animals lived happily with their owners. My experience, especially working on the survey on pet owners, changed my attitude. Also, I saw much sorrow in the eyes of rescued animals when I walked through the homing department. This made me realise that there is still a lot of work to be done for animals in Hong Kong.” said Chong Lam, a Social Science year 2 student from the University of Hong Kong who spent eight weeks at SPCA under the University’s Social Innovation internship programme. 

    Every year the SPCA provides internships for over 30 university students, each student spending the equivalent of at least two months full time with the Society. The interns are assigned to various positions in welfare, veterinary and community development departments. In addition to the specific functional assignments, the students are exposed to the realities of the work. Here they have the opportunity not only to understand the principles of animal welfare but also to think more deeply about the dilemmas and controversial aspects the work entails.

    SPCA believes that through the personal experiences gained by working in Hong Kong’s leading animal welfare agency, students will develop a greater sense of empathy and commitment towards its causes and will grow into its best advocates for animal welfare.

    The Society also assists students with school projects and is gratified when primary and secondary school children choose Animal Care as a topic and take the opportunity to pass on important animal welfare messages. In some cases, more complex requests are received, such as a recent final year project for the graduating class of the Kwun Tong Vocational Training Centre. They were given the assignment of promoting the annual Pet Adoptathon event. Under the guidance of their teacher, the 23 students appeared on television, filmed and uploaded YouTube clips, approached sponsors and put together a street event in Causeway Bay to promote adoption.

    “The students really learned so much from this project. They now realise that some tasks, like calling for sponsors, are not easy, and they also had to do a lot of preparation to appear on television to promote adoption. At the end of the day, the students felt satisfied that they had done something worthwhile for animals,” said Pansy Wong, teacher in charge of the project.

     

    Doing our part for animals: Cadet Inspectors 

    The Cadet Inspector Corps was formed in 2008 as part of the Inspectorate’s effort towards education. The 50 Cadet Inspectors undergo a three-month training which equips them with basic animal welfare knowledge, Hong Kong’s animal welfare laws and animal handling methods. They are then assigned to work with our regular Inspectors, shadowing them in daily operations. 

    “I joined the SPCA Cadet Inspectors a year ago. I didn’t know much about animals at first, but after a lot of advice from the Inspectors, I feel more confident about understanding and handling them. The chance to see so many of Hong Kong’s different animals is a rare treat,” said Kitty Leung, a secondary school student and Cadet Inspector.

    The SPCA sets out in its mission statement that “through education it hopes to inspire in the community a deep respect for life”. By educating in experientially and intellectually engaging ways, it stands a far better chance of seeing Hong Kong become a truly humane society.

     

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  • Feature                     Shifting Landscape                                                     13 - 15

    Shifting Landscape
    Our 2010 survey reveals some surprising changes in habits and attitudes of pet owners.

    The Hong Kong government had never formally investigated the habits and trends of pet ownership until 2005 when, for the first time, it carried out a territory-wide survey. A similar effort was repeated in 2010, with a focus on the dog-and-cat-keeping habits of the average Hong Kong household. The SPCA followed up with two surveys of its own – a survey in 2011 to gauge Hong Kongers’ attitudes towards sharing public spaces with pets, and another conducted in July this year to ascertain the perceptions of pet owners and non-pet owners of responsible pet ownership in Hong Kong.

    A comparison of census data reveals that pet ownership has soared in popularity, resulting in growing numbers of animals sharing Hong Kong’s limited living space. Here we’re going to take you through the results of these surveys and learn more about their implications.

     

    All about canines

    Between 2005 and 2010, there was a 20 per cent increase in dog-owning households and a corresponding 25 per cent increase in the number of pet dogs in Hong Kong. The average Hong Kong pooch is most likely an only dog in a small household of two to three people living in private housing. Although nearly 80 per cent of Hong Kong’s pet canines live in private housing, almost 10 per cent of pet dogs still live in public housing estates – with a slight increase between 2005 and 2010.

    The five-year period reveals a greater awareness about adoption and an increasing willingness to adopt. Adoption from the SPCA has increased from 2 per cent to 5 per cent of pet dogs in Hong Kong. However, a growing number of people are still choosing to buy pets from pet shops. In 2005, almost half of all dogs were received as gifts, but some 40.5 per cent of dogs were acquired from pet shops in 2010, overtaking gifts as the number one source for obtaining dogs.

     

    Sharing spaces – yes or no?

    The 2011 SPCA survey polled 221 people regarding pet access. The results show that a large majority agree or strongly agree that exercise is an important aspect of animal welfare. Only 7 per cent of people feel that pets should not be allowed into open spaces. Nearly one in five respondents feel pets should be unconditionally allowed into open spaces, but the majority think pets should be allowed in public open space with conditions. Pet owners and non-pet owners have similar concerns when it comes to conditional pet access – public hygiene and keeping dogs leashed.

     

    Are you responsible enough?

    To non-dog owners, the traits of responsible dog ownership are revealed in the canines’ health, diet, public hygiene habits and the care and love the owners show them. Maintaining the good health of the pet canines, feeding them a proper diet, cleaning up after the dogs and caring for a dog over its lifetime are all very important; but surprisingly, training and managing one’s dog, not letting one’s dog jump onto people and desexing are rated lowest.

    When dog owners rate themselves accordingly on the same criteria, a large majority rate themselves good or excellent on care for their dogs’ lifetime, cleaning after them, and care and love for their dogs. However, the percentages of those who rate themselves as good or excellent on control of barking behaviour, desexing and training and management of dogs are somewhat lower.

    Overall, 64 per cent of the non-dog owners agree that Hong Kong dog owners are responsible. Despite the high self-ratings by dog owners on many criteria, non-dog owners believe that the level of responsible pet ownership can be enhanced further with more public education, school education and changes in legislation.

     

    What should I do?

    Be considerate. Hong Kong has limited space and dog owners need to respect others in public spaces. Simple acts such as ensuring that your dog is leashed, getting your dog to defecate in appropriate areas (e.g. away from pedestrian walkways, restaurants or shops) and cleaning up well after it has done so, are basic steps that you can take.

     

    Train your dog properly.

    The process is an important component for understanding your pet and an effective way to put an end to undesirable behaviour. Remember to use positive reinforcement (rewards and praise) instead of punishment, so the communication between you and your dog is based on trust rather than fear.

    The SPCA runs training courses for dogs of all ages. If you need help in managing your dog, please call our Behaviour and Training hotline on 2232 5567, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit http://www.spca.org.hk/eng/care/bt.asp.

     

    Promote responsible pet ownership in your community.

    SPCA’s education talks have been very popular with schools, companies, organisations and housing estates on topics such as animal welfare and hygiene, and on providing tips to the public on how to be a good and responsible owner. For more information, please call the Education Department on 2232 5541 or 2232 5526 or visit http://www.spca.org.hk/eng/education/main.asp.

     

    What do pet owners think about desexing?

    Surprisingly, the percentage of desexed dogs remains relatively low. In 2005, only 36 per cent of dogs had been desexed. Since then the figure has increased significantly – though not nearly as high as we’d like it to be – to 55.1 per cent in 2010. The 2012 SPCA survey reveals that although dog owners rate themselves highly in terms of maintaining hygiene and the health of their pets, they do not regard desexing as important. This lower rate of dog desexing may mean that that dog overpopulation in Hong Kong will continue to persist.

    Cats, on the other hand, have consistently been desexed at a higher rate than dogs, suggesting greater awareness regarding the benefits of cat desexing. In 2005, slightly more than half (51.6%) of pet cats had been desexed; by 2010, the percentage had jumped to 71.5 per cent.

    The marked difference in the desexing rate is also reflected in SPCA’s intake figures. Despite a drop in the number of animals taken in by the government, the number of dogs taken in by the SPCA actually increased between 2005 and 2010, while there was a drop of almost 26 per cent of cats taken in during the same period. At the same time, the number of street cats desexed annually as part of the Cat Colony Care Programme (CCCP) almost doubled to about 5,700 between 2005 and 2010, while the euthanasia rate for cats continues to drop.

     

    What should I do?

    If you haven’t desexed your pet, we strongly recommend you do it now; the earlier the better. The main purpose is of course to keep the number of kittens and puppies under control, but having the operation done early not only reduces the chance of cancer in the animal, it also helps to prevent anti-social behaviour such as aggression, urine spraying and the desire to roam.

    The routine procedure can be arranged easily at any registered veterinary clinic, or at the SPCA which has two schemes to make desexing accessible to pet owners. You can take advantage of the Spay Neuter Assist Programme (SNAP) vouchers to have your canine and feline friend desexed with financial assistance from the SPCA. Alternatively, the Spay Neuter Vehicle, a mobile surgical unit, is dedicated to providing sterilisation for dogs and cats mainly in the New Territories and Outlying Islands.

     

    Spay Neuter Assist Programme (SNAP) vouchers

    For more information, please visit

    http://www.spca.org.hk/welfare/eng/SNAP.asp.

     

    Spay Neuter Vehicle

    For more information, including schedule and conditions, please contact 2232 5513 or visit http://www.spca.org.hk/eng/welfare/awv.asp.

     

    Who gave them up? And why?

    Although the number of households with second thoughts about keeping their pets halved between 2005 and 2010, it still represented 4.5 per cent of households in 2010. In both surveys, giving unwanted pets to friends and relatives was the second most popular option. This is not particularly surprising as receiving a dog as a gift remains one of the top two routes of dog acquisition in Hong Kong.

    Sadly, the number one reason that pet owners give up their pets is “related to pets” – for reasons such as hair loss and old age. Other factors include reasons pertaining to housing (lack of space, moving house or regulations against pet keeping), and financial and family issues.

     

    What should I do?

    Think before you adopt, and don’t buy. Low rates of desexing and continued abandonment of pets means that pet overpopulation continues to be a reality in Hong Kong. The majority of reasons behind pet abandonment suggest that a lot of pet owners did not consider a pet’s requirements over its lifetime before getting one. This can be avoided with more careful consideration of both pets’ and owners’ needs.

    And why buy a pet when you can give an SPCA animal a second chance in life?

     

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  • Feature                     What I learned from one little fish                               17

    What I learned from one little fish

    Cruzanne Macalister

    I met my goldfish for the first time when visiting my little cousin. The fish was on their table in a small glass container. Apart from some water and the lithe little gold body circling aimlessly before swimming hard against the side, the bowl was empty. I didn’t know anything about fish, but this one didn’t seem to be happy. 

    My five-year-old cousin had brought him home a few days earlier, a gift from a birthday party. Every child had been given a goldfish in a plastic bag – no food, no tank, no instructions on how to care for it. They hadn’t asked for a fish; they’d just been given one. Many of the other parents who were equally unprepared to keep the new arrival had had to simply flush the creature down the toilet. Needless to say, my cousin’s parents were relieved when I offered to have this one. 

    Once back at home, I sat the small, depressing container and the fish on the kitchen counter. What was it that bothered me so much about this set-up? It was the lack of enrichment. Suddenly, I couldn’t move fast enough; I was hell-bent on improving this little fella’s life.

    Firstly, I addressed the space issue, finding a large glass vase. Then the ideas came flooding in: basic survival needs – shelter; he needed a place to escape to, to feel protected. Easily sorted, I took a plastic takeaway container and cut a large opening in one side to act like a little house. I raided the cupboards and came up with some small Chinese sauce dishes that could be stacked and arranged to create interesting shapes and arches. The final step was easy: a large palm frond snipped from the plant on the balcony. The difference was immediate and remarkable.

    The fish’s behaviour changed almost immediately. He swam about brushing his body against the frond, darting in and out of his little house and contentedly exploring the nooks and crannies of the new tank landscape. He was happy. That was the beginning of my appreciation and education. The more I watched him, the more I was enthralled – this was one amazing little creature.

    I then read up on everything I could, learning that goldfish can live for up to 20 years. I learnt about the importance of water quality, PH levels, oxygen content, temperature, the fact that even decaying foliage can release dangerous toxins…There were so many things needed for this little life, but when you got them right, the result was fantastic. He became more active and inquisitive every day, and when I learnt that fish love to push against marbles, I quickly added a handful of glass beads to the bottom of the tank.

     

    Apart from some water and the lithe little gold body circling aimlessly before swimming hard against the side, the bowl was empty.

    It’s been eight months now and I continue to love the company of my little mate; the way he swims over to the side of the tank when I make my morning coffee; how he rises to the surface when I lean over the water; and how he follows me around as if to look over my shoulder when I sit down at my computer. I love watching him swim between the leaves of the palm frond, sometimes deliberately wedging himself there as if to take a break. I believe I can tell when he’s hungry, when he’s content, when he’s too hot – although am still trying to work out what sleeping looks like! And he’s beautiful. I’d never taken the time to really admire a little goldfish, but the intense glistening orange of his back, the golden gradation down to his stomach, the delicate flow and curl of his fins – even his little movements are fascinating as he hovers, darts or stays perfectly still.

    I recently came across the writing of a great ocean explorer, Sylvia Earle, who spent many weeks living under the sea after the first experimental underwater habitats were established in the 1970s, continuously observing shoals of fish. Earle said that out of the hundreds of thousands of fish she saw in her time there – no two fish were the same. Every one of them had a unique personality; some were bold, some were shy, some were inquisitive, some were risk-taking, but they were all different. Before having my little goldfish, I wouldn’t have believed any of it. I don’t know how much my little guy really knows, but I do know it’s more than I had ever realised and it’s more than I could ever have imagined. 

    My little goldfish has taught me how precious life is, even for the smallest creature, and how remarkable a tiny life can be. All creatures deserve our respect and if we’re going to keep them around, we need to understand how to give them the best life possible.

    To think that my goldfish was given away at a birthday party is ridiculous. A remarkable life, no matter how small, shouldn’t be given away as such a careless token. Life comes with responsibility, and respect for life begins with concern for animals.

     

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  • Veterinary                 Vet’s Case Book                                                          18

    TOTAL EAR CANAL ABLATION (TECA) IN A 10-YEAR-OLD PUG

    Introduction

    Surgery for ear disease is done as a last resort or “salvage procedure”; it is something to be avoided by good medical treatment and regular ear care! However, life does not always work out the way you hope and in some cases it is necessary to resort to surgery to treat relapsing or persistent outer ear inflammation/infection (otitis externa) and narrowing (stenosis) of the ear canals. Other less avoidable reasons for surgery include cancer (neoplasia) and severe trauma. 

    The good news is surgery for chronic otitis externa is less common these days mainly due to improved ear care and better knowledge and management of underlying medical conditions. However, despite the best efforts of owner and vet alike some cases become “end-stage” often resulting in complete obstruction of the ear canal, a ruptured ear drum (tympanic membrane) and middle ear infection/inflammation (otitis media). When all possible medical management has been tried, removal of the entire external ear canal is indicated to help resolve pain and chronic infection. The name of this surgery is rather a mouthful: Total Ear Canal Ablation +/- Lateral Bulla Osteotomy (otherwise known as TECA+/-LBO!).

    This is a major surgical procedure with a number of potentially serious complications; as a result the surgery is not undertaken lightly and the owners are counselled thoroughly beforehand.

     

    Case Report

    “BoBo”, a ten-year-old female, neutered pug, had a long history (over 4 years’ duration) of both ear and skin problems. The skin disease had been managed with a combination of prescription diets, vitamin supplements and intermittent steroid therapy. However, over time both ear canals had become thickened and infected and were no longer responsive to medical treatments. On examination, it was not possible to inspect the ear canals with our ear scope as the external ear openings were completely blocked with thickened tissue. After discussing the surgical procedure and possible complications at length with the owner we elected to perform TECA/LBO surgeries on both ears.

     

    Surgical technique:

    The surgery involves the complete removal of the external ear canal (the “TECA” part) followed by making an opening in the bony drum of the middle ear (the “LBO” part) and removing debris and infection; the latter is normally performed if the ear drum is ruptured and there is infection/inflammation in the middle ear.

    It is important ALL diseased tissue is removed and the surgical dissection of the external ear canal is done as delicately as possible, otherwise the blood supply to the visible ear flap may be disrupted. The dissection is continued down to the ear drum at the junction of the external and middle ears. At this stage it is imperative to avoid damaging the facial nerve which runs close to this area as this can lead to facial paralysis and other post-operative neurological complications.

    An osteotomy (surgical cutting and removal of a piece of bone) from the middle ear’s bony drum (bulla) is carried out with specialised instrumentation. The bony drum is thoroughly flushed to remove hair, infected lining and pus. 

    A passive drain made from latex tubing may be placed from the bony drum exiting through the skin to serve as a route for infection and fluid to come out post-surgery.

    Post-operation pain relief and antibiotics are very important for the animal’s comfort; and of course a buster collar must be worn to prevent self-trauma. The drain (if placed) is usually removed after five days and the skin stitches are removed 14 days post-surgery.

     

    Outcome:

    In this case BoBo had the second ear operated on six weeks after the first. At the last check-up the ears were non-painful and the dog and the owner were reported to be both much happier!

     

    Dr Patel Chirag BVetMed, MRCVS
    Senior Veterinary Surgeon

     

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  • Veterinary                 Vet’s Tips                                                                  19

    Vet Tips: Keeping those Ears Clean and Disease Free!

    Ear disease is one of the most common problems seen at veterinary clinics; that’s the bad news… the good news is it can be prevented with good owner care and patience!

    Animals with long floppy ears like Labradors, hairy ears like poodles or narrow ear canals like Scottish Fold cats are particularly susceptible; however, all cats and dogs can get itchy, painful ear disease!

    Here are some top tips on caring for your furry friend’s ears.

     

    Check Weekly!

    It is important to get into the habit of taking a quick look at your pet’s ears at least once weekly as a mildly itchy ear can turn into a severe and painful infection very fast! Things to look for which indicate a possible problem include thick discharge, very red or inflamed outer ear canals, a strong smelly odour, and constant head shaking or pain when you touch the ear. If you find any of the above you should consult with your veterinary surgeon AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

     

    Groom & Pluck!

    Excessive hair in the ear canals can trap both moisture and debris turning the ear canal into an excellent breeding ground for all sorts of nasty bacteria and yeasts. Removal of this hair (usually by PLUCKING not cutting!) will help reduce the humidity levels in the ear canal and also aid in cleaning. Either your groomer or veterinary surgeon can show you how this is done.

     

    Clean Regularly!

    Regular ear cleaning will also reduce the possibility of problems as it will help remove debris and establish a pH in the ear canal that bacteria and yeast do not thrive in. The frequency of ear cleanings varies with the animal, but in general animals should have their ears cleaned once every couple of weeks. To clean them effectively and aid in removal of debris the ear flap needs to be gently held out, the canal filled with a veterinary-approved cleaner and gently massaged from the base of the ear. Any debris coming to the surface should be wiped away with cotton wool on your finger tips. Cotton buds should NEVER be used inside the ear as you can risk damaging the delicate ear drum. Again, ask your groomer or veterinary surgeon for a demo!

     

    Prevent!
    Ear infections are more common in the muggy summer months so more frequent maintenance cleaning may be necessary. However, it is important to know that you can OVERCLEAN your animal’s ears. Activities such as swimming and bathing can predispose animals to ear infections as well so cleaning after these activities is very important.

     

    IF IN DOUBT PLEASE CONSULT YOUR VETERINARY SURGEON FOR THE BEST REGIME FOR YOUR PET’S EARS!

     

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  • Veterinary                Vet Profile                                                                  20

    NAME: Dr Jamie Gallagher
    TITLE: Veterinary Surgeon
    NATIONALITY: American

    ACADEMIC QUALIFICATION:

    Bachelor of Science (BS), St Lawrence University, New York State, USA. Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVetMed), Royal Veterinary College, University of London, UK. American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and New York State Veterinary Medical Association (NYSVMA) Accredited.

     

    CAREER PATH:

    After graduation I travelled to Johannesburg, South Africa, as a volunteer (see later). On my return to the USA, I accepted a position near my home town in a busy small animal practice about 90 minutes north of Manhattan where I worked as a general practitioner for 18 months. I was attracted to Hong Kong as I have always loved travelling and living in different countries.

     

    VETERINARY INTERESTS:

    While really enjoying all aspects of small animal practice, I particularly love the puzzle and challenge internal medicine presents, especially difficult endocrinology, gastroenterology and nephrology cases. I am also keen to develop my skills in complementary diagnostic methods such as endoscopy and ultrasound. And last but certainly not least I find welfare work (neutering programmes, adoption and shelter medicine) truly rewarding.

     

    REASONS FOR WORKING AT THE SPCA (HK):

     I had heard of the fantastic reputation of the SPCA from colleagues in the UK long before I even had any idea I would someday move to Hong Kong. The standard of care, practice of progressive medicine, and opportunities to learn and improve here are second to none in Hong Kong.

     

    PETS:

    Ralphie, a black Labrador, and Holly, a beautiful golden mongrel, adopted from the New York SPCA.

     

    INTERESTS:

    Travel, photography, baking, hiking, rowing, horse-riding, reading, and spending quality time with friends and family!

     

    MOST UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE:

    The time I spent at an animal charity clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa, is amongst my most memorable experiences as a veterinary surgeon. After graduation and before formally starting on my career path I wanted to use my newly acquired skills to help really deserving animals. Attending a lecture in my final year on different animal charities got me interested in the “CLAW” (Community Led Animal Welfare) animal clinic and a few months later I found myself arriving in South Africa. This clinic was founded with the goal of providing desperately needed veterinary services to the townships, as well as vital animal care education to pet owners in one of the world’s poorest communities, and from the moment I arrived at the clinic I knew I was in for a life-changing experience.

    My first day we spent walking through a “landfill” to vaccinate and deworm a group of dogs that lived there with a small community of people who collectively scavenged as a means of survival. Besides spaying, neutering and other preventative medicine we treated any animal brought to us and you never knew what was going to walk in the door. We did not have any of the luxuries modern veterinary practices now enjoy such as x-rays or laboratory facilities to perform blood work. We had only a microscope, our physical examination skills and our heads! We treated everything from gun-shot wounds, burn victims, animals that had been stoned or savaged by other dogs to poisonings and infectious diseases. This was also my first encounter with tick fever, although, unlike in Hong Kong where we can give dogs life-saving blood transfusions, we could only treat these dogs with supportive care and antibiotics. I was also able to participate in a community-based education programme and helped to teach the children that visited CLAW how to care for their animals. I distributed food and clothing parcels, visited food gardens to help give people the tools to grow their own food and went on home visits to help the sick and dying access health and hospice care.

    I saw some of the worst of human nature but more of the best side with people that had nothing for themselves having to fight a daily battle to survive often walking miles to come to the clinic to help their animals. While veterinary school taught me what I needed to be a vet, this experience taught me how to actually apply those skills to both animals and people in need and reiterated why I love this job and how one person really can make a difference to animal welfare!

     

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  •  Veterinary               Pawprint News                                                           21

    Upgraded Diagnostic Imaging and Rehabilitation Facilities
    Diagnostic Imaging: Digital X-ray, Ultrasound and Endoscopy

    We are very pleased to announce a recent upgrade to our diagnostic imaging facility at our 24-hour Hong Kong Hospital to better serve the needs of ALL animals under our care.

    After over 20 years of service our x-ray machine and developer have been “retired” and replaced with a “state of the art” digital x-ray machine and digital processor. “Going digital” has enabled us to improve image quality, increase speed and efficiency, and also to share radiographic images with our six clinics through our centralised computer records.

    In addition to digital x-ray, a purpose-built ultrasound room has been created from our old dark room enabling both abdominal and cardiac ultrasounds to be carried out away from the busy surgery floor, enhancing the experience for both veterinary surgeons and patients alike.

    We would also like to take this opportunity to introduce a new endoscopy service to members as we have recently acquired specialised equipment for gastroscopy, bronchoscopy and rigid endoscopy. In “layman’s” terms this means we will be able to “scope” the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract (including the nasal cavity), bladder and abdominal cavity. This greatly increases our diagnositic ability and reduces the need for referral.

     

    Underwater Treadmill for Rehabilitation

    The SPCA Veterinary Department is proud to announce the installation of an underwater treadmill for physiotherapy at our Hong Kong centre. Our grateful thanks go to Mr Andrew Benadie for providing the Society with the use of the treadmill which will benefit both owned pets and welfare cases.

    This underwater equipment is suitable for the following conditions:

    - Post-operative rehabilitation

    - Hip dysplasia

    - Arthritis

    - Spinal injuries

    - Obesity

     

    All patients using the machine will be supervised by Janet Ng, our resident physiotherapist.

    To provide more consistent hydrotherapy services to our patients, the physiotherapy clinic opening hours in the Hong Kong centre have been increased to twice weekly (Monday and Thursday). It is hoped that with future demand the number of days will be increased further. Please watch this space!

    Bookings for physiotherapy and treadmill services can be made through the SPCA Veterinary Department – referral from our veterinary surgeons or private veterinary clinics. The latter must be accompanied by a completed referral form.

    For further information regarding the above services or to obtain a referral form please contact Vincent Li, the Veterinary Practice Manager, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 2802 0501.

     

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  • Inspectorate            SPCA Case Files                                                         22 - 23

    From March to May 2012, the Inspectorate received a total of 9,972 calls and handled 1,613 animals. SPCA inspectors rescued 457 animals, investigated 231 complaints, and conducted inspections of 106 pet shops and 216 wet markets.

     

    March (PROSECUTED AND CONVICTED)

    A Corgi and a Red-eared Terrapin were left unattended without food and water in an apartment in Kowloon City, resulting in the death of the dog. The owner was later located and arrested. In June, she pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges and was sentenced by the magistrate to imprisonment of 4 months.

     

    March (COLLECTED)

    Off course and unable to fly, a young owl found in the garden of a village house in Sai Kung was collected by an SPCA inspector and taken to the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden for treatment and care.

     

    March (RESCUED)

    Hikers reported to the hotline that a puppy was stranded at the bottom of a shotcreted slope in Chai Wan and was unable to climb back up. The mother dog was at the top of the slope, helplessly and anxiously watching her puppy. SPCA inspectors arrived at the scene, abseiled down the slope to rescue the puppy and returned itto its mother.  

     

    April (RESCUED)

    Another of Hong Kong’s intrepid cats was rescued from a high-rise building by SPCA inspectors, this time from a ledge on the 14th floor of a residential building in Choi Hung. After receiving care and treatment at the SPCA, the lucky cat was adopted and taken home by a new owner.

     

    April (RESCUED)

    A Chinese Starling reportedly had its leg tangled by a nylon line in a tree in Tai Po about 20 feet above  ground. The Fire Services were asked to help and by using the hydraulic platform of a fire engine SPCA inspectors were able to reach and rescue the bird. The Starling was taken to the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden for treatment and care.

     

    April (RESCUED)

    Another cat was rescued from danger by SPCA inspectors from the ledge of a building in Mui Wo. The cat was taken to the SPCA hospital for care and was later reclaimed by its owner.

     

    April (COLLECTED)

    SPCA inspectors rescued a young Peregrine Falcon which was found unable to fly, at Shek Pik Reservoir on Lantau Island. It was taken to the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden for rehabilitation. Falcons are birds of prey which hunt by day; they differ from hawks, eagles and kites (other diurnal hunters) by using their beaks to kill instead of their feet.

     

    May (UNDER INVESTIGATION)

    High temperatures can be very dangerous for dogs. This Bulldog was found dead inside a locked cage covered by a plastic sheet outside a village house in Shatin in very hot weather. The case was handed over to the police for investigation with a view to prosecuting the owner under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance. SPCA inspectors continue to assist the police in the investigation process.

     

    May (UNDER INVESTIGATION)

    In a video news clip from a local newspaper, a man was seen hitting a dog with a cane. SPCA inspectors assisted the police in the investigation of this case, helping to locate witnesses, providing expert witnesses as well as assisting in the prosecution process.

     

    May (UNDER INVESTIGATION)

    SPCA inspectors were called to a village house in Yuen Long where they found two dogs on the roof with no water or shelter under very hot weather. The Husky was showing signs of acute discomfort; the Golden Retriever was dead, caught in a sharp metal fence dividing one section of the roof from another. The dog had bled heavily from its mouth, its injury believed to have been sustained while it was trying to bite its way through to shade on the other side. The case was handed over to the police with a view to prosecuting the person responsible for the dogs under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance. SPCA inspectors continue to provide assistance during the process.

     

    May (RESCUED)

    After considerable effort, SPCA inspectors were able to free a Rottweiler which had managed to get its head stuck in a hole in a fenestrated wall in Tai O. The dog was returned to its grateful owner.

     

    May (RESCUED)

    SPCA inspectors rescued a poodle which was seen wandering in the restricted area alongside the railway line in Fanling. The dog was taken to the SPCA hospital for care and was later reclaimed by its owner.

     

    May (RESCUED)

    A kitten was reported seen inside the Cross Harbour Tunnel was rescued by SPCA inspectors. The tiny animal was taken to the SPCA hospital for care and is now waiting to be homed.

     

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  • Inspectorate            Serving the Community                                               24

    Serving the Community 

    SPCA Inspector Cheng Kam Wah
    Describes the challenges that can face an inspector at the SPCA

    Inspector Cheng Kam Wah originally joined the SPCA in 2002 as a logistics driver, responsible for documents and materials delivery. While in this role he recognised the importance of the work of the Inspectorate Department and soon applied for a transfer. After several rounds of tests and interviews, Cheng was accepted as a trainee; he describes here one particular experience with the Inspectorate.

    “In my 10 years as an inspector, I’ve had many unforgettable experiences and been in contact with and rescued an assortment of animals, from cats and dogs to wild boars, hedgehogs, eagles and lizards. All these animals have their own life encounters, including suffering accidents or getting trapped or hurt due to the carelessness and ignorance of humans.

    One of the more memorable rescues I took part in was a few years ago when member of the public called our hotline to report the constant barking of a puppy in a rural area near Tuen Mun. It sounded as if the puppy was desperate and in pain. I happened to be patrolling in the vicinity at the time and drove to the spot immediately. When I arrived, I could hear the distraught puppy from the foot of the hillside, but the thickness of the vegetation made it difficult to locate its exact position. Fortunately, with the help of the concerned caller, I eventually found the puppy lying among bushes five metres below the top of the hill. It was by then getting dark and as the puppy was on a steep section of the slope, I contacted another colleague for help.

    I abseiled down the slope of the hill to reach the puppy and found that one of its forelimbs was clamped in an animal trap and obviously broken. To avoid hurting the puppy further, I brought it still in the trap to the SPCA. The trap was removed, but examination left the vet with no option but to amputate the animal’s badly fractured leg. The treatment the puppy received was extensive, but he finally recovered and found a new home with a very loving and caring new owner.

    Heroes in films, driven by love, are often depicted as persevering under difficult circumstances. I and my colleagues at the SPCA are no less persevering in our fight for the lives of animals.”

     

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  • Education                  Bringing Animal Welfare to Secondary School                                   25

    Bringing Animal Welfare to Secondary Schools 

    In keeping with the objectives of World Animal Day on October 4, the SPCA’s Education Department has launched the first ever joint animal-welfare programme with secondary schools in Hong Kong.

    Supported by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and other animal-welfare organisations, the “SPCA Animal Friendly Campus Award and Student Ambassador Programme” aligns with the present secondary school curriculum for Liberal Studies and Other Learning Experiences. The programme will run for 10 months until July 2013 with a teacher representative and groups of 8 to 12 student ambassadors from each participating school working very closely with us. The training we provide students, focusing on “respect and responsibility” and “care and consideration”, will enable them to better understand animal-welfare issues and the concept of living in harmony with other members of the animal world. Information and advice for students is available at our specially designed website http://www.spca.org.hk/edu_afca/eng/.

    There are three areas of achievement within the programme: Learning, Social Development and Volunteering. Individual students will earn scores for the tasks they undertake and complete and these will be tallied for each school. The school that gains the highest score will be awarded the SPCA Animal Friendly Campus Champion Cup.

    Students who take part will broaden their knowledge of animal-related issues while strengthening their personal skills, such as those of leadership, communication and organisation. These are valuable achievements for young people. Celebrity DJ Kitty Yuen Siu Yee has been appointed our education ambassador and will encourage students by visiting some of the participating schools. The deadline for applications is 23 November 2012.

    We urge students not to miss this wonderful chance to help SPCA improve animal welfare in Hong Kong and around the world!

     

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  • Happenings                                                                                             26 - 27

    Children in Action

    SPCA’s supporters span across all age groups, and this time our gratitude goes out to two children, Andres and Camilla, who raised a total of $8,000 for the SPCA. A while back, their dog Patron found a litter of wild puppies up on Violet Hill, which were brought in to us. The way the SPCA dealt with the puppies touched the children deeply and left a lasting impression, so much so that when recently Patron passed away, the two youngsters, now residing in Shanghai, sent out an international appeal to their friends on Facebook to sponsor them on a walk in Hong Kong. In memory of Patron, they money raised were donated to the SPCA to help our work. Social media can be an amazing and powerful tool, and this time it has done wonders on the fundraising front.

     

    SPCA’s Vet Nurses Clinched Three awards

    The recent Hill’s Vet Nurse of the Year 2012 saw three of our vet nurses awarded for their contribution to the nursing field, with Maria Tsang named the Award Winner, while Vivian Or and Debi Siu were given the Outstanding Award. We congratulate and are very proud of our nurses’ achievements. The Veterinary Services will continue to provide high quality services to animals and their owners.

     

    Adopt a Hong Kong Original

    The Hong Kong Originals campaign was launched earlier this year to promote the adoption of Chinese mongrels. Featuring over 30 local personalities, the campaign can be found citywide, including the MTR stations and other areas with heavy footfalls. We are working to further expand the campaign by reaching out to more celebrities, in hopes of bringing the core message to Hong Kongers: consider adopting a Hong Kong original, a dog as unique as you are from SPCA.

     

    Cats in Control

    Cats are free to roam at will in the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Shatin stables. In exchange, they keep rodents at bay and befriend the horses. Through the Cat Colony Care Programme (CCCP) the SPCA helps keep the colony’s population in control, and thus making them healthier and happier. Two of the programme’s staunchest supporters are John and Carol Moore.

    “The SPCA has done a great job in controlling the stable cat population while ensuring the animals are free to live a healthy life. In return, the cats do their bit to keep the numbers of rats and mice down,” says Carol.

    Carol is also a volunteer dog walker at SPCA. She exercises and socialises with the dogs, and tries to make them as happy as possible. The care and attention she provides help restore their confidence and trust in human beings. The Moores have also adopted a one-eyed pug from the SPCA. This lucky dog now also roams happily at the stables, making friends with the horses. No mention of the cats!

     

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  • Happy EndingsPut a Smile on That Face28

    Put a Smile on That Face

    Let’s talk about moving houses, shall we? Say we have plans for a bigger house; that usually entails renovation, more furniture and maybe even a spanking new home theatre. For Annette and her partner Haakan, however, the first thing that came to mind was actually a dog.

    They both did the right thing – no shopping around at pet shops or similar nonsense – having taken a look at the SPCA website, Haakan was immediately drawn to the intelligent yet gentle face of a tan mongrel called Victor. The couple went to visit him and found his temperament as friendly as the website had described. “He enjoyed being around people, while also being constantly interested in and aware of everything around him. We decided immediately that he is the dog for us! He had been in the SPCA kennels for seven months and we couldn’t believe that no one had adopted him sooner,” Annette recalled fondly.

    Having successfully completed the adoption procedure, the couple went ahead to give our gentle mongrel a new name – Xasco. The clever boy took to his new name almost right away and has been a real star at home, far easier to handle than what Annette had expected. “He is very respectful of our personal space so we were quickly able to teach him which rooms he can go into and which are ‘ours’. He will only go to the toilet outside. He only did it once in the flat and we quickly told him that it wasn’t allowed while rewarding him when he went outside. Even when he was stuck in the house during T10, he was very well-behaved! He is lovely to walk too, very enthusiastic and always keen to explore.”

    There are also funny moments around the house. “Xasco is very funny when we arrive home.  He is so excited to see us that he’ll leap up to greet us (usually still with very sleepy eyes) and wag his tail so hard that his whole body wiggle from side to side! His ears will be flat against his head and he’ll have a big smile on his face, it’s such a lovely sight to come home to.”

    Annette and her boyfriend are both really happy to have adopted Xasco. “He has been very easy to fit into our lives and he is always happy, enthusiastic and puts a big smile on our faces.” A match made in heaven, so to speak!

     

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